What could be more beautiful in the fall than the Beautiful Game? | Five for Your Weekend

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Happy Weekend, All.

It’s Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek. I’m subbing in for Cassie Miller this week, who’s taking some seriously deserved time off.

Weekends usually find me running errands. And as I’ve been ambling over the back roads of central Pennsylvania, it’s been gratifying to see youth soccer players back out on the pitch, their families at a respectful distance, putting on their own version of the Beautiful Game on these increasingly brisk October afternoons.

The sight takes me back to my own days as just-adequate right back for my high school team. And if you can’t make it outside this weekend — and you really should try — there’s plenty of soccer on offer on TV.

This handy guide from The Guardian runs down everything you need to know about this weekend’s round of Premier League action.

Here’s everything you need to know about the American pro league MLS (I’ve been a D.C. United fan for years).

And if you happen to have a fondness for the French Ligue 1, as I do — then this will take care of you.

And you might as well read about Serie A, the top-flight Italian pro league in Italian.

And now that you’re totally overloaded, you can dive into this week’s Top 5 Most Read stories. As ever, they start below.

Take care — and be kind to each other.
John

MINNEAPOLIS, MN – SEPTEMBER 23: Signage at an early voting center on September 23, 2016 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Minnesota residents can vote in the general election every day until Election Day on November 8. (Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images)

1. Want to hand-deliver your ballot in Pa.? Here’s a map of election offices and drop boxes

If you’re one of the 2.2 million Pennsylvanians who requested to vote by mail-in ballot this year, you don’t have to rely on the postal service to cast it.

State law allows voters to hand-deliver their ballots to county election bureaus – the offices in each of Pennsylvania’s 67 counties that handle voter registration and administer state, local and federal elections.

But voters have other options for the first time this year. Thanks to a 2019 change to the state Election Code, some counties have established satellite voting offices or secure drop box locations to collect ballots and administer voter services.

Gov. Tom Wolf and Democratic legislators at a press conference in 2019. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

2. In the hunt for a Democratic majority, Wolf pumps $1.3 million into state legislative races

In the lead up to the last major election he’ll see as governor of Pennsylvania, Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf has given more than $1.3 million to 39 state House and Senate candidates in hopes of flipping a legislative chamber this November.

Wolf, who entered office in 2014 and will reach the end of his final term in 2022, has only ever negotiated with a GOP-controlled Legislature.

But he hopes that shoring up a Democratic majority in the statehouse this year will allow him to deliver on some of his unrealized policy priorities in the final years of his administration.

“This is the last shot [Wolf] has to win either chamber and he is going to do anything he can to do that,” Jeff Sheridan, a senior Wolf political advisor, told the Capital-Star.

House Minority Whip Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, top left, looks on as Gov. Tom Wolf, signs a bill in summer 2020. (Capital-Star photo by Stephen Caruso)

3. As Democrats aim to flip the House, a top lawmaker took $600K from school choice donor trying to stop them

The No. 2 Democrat in the Pennsylvania House has taken hundreds of thousands of dollars in political donations from a group that’s funded at least $3.5 million in ads targeting vulnerable Democratic colleagues in an election in which control of the chamber is seen as up for grabs.

House Minority Whip Jordan Harris, D-Philadelphia, raked in $600,000 over the past two years from Students First, a political action committee that supports candidates for office who back school choice.

Those donations are an anomaly this cycle, as Students First, which has backed Democrats in the past, has instead given more than 90 percent of its dollars to conservative groups to protect Republican incumbents and attack Democrats in red-tinged districts.

Harris, an ally of charter schools with the votes to match, has made no apologies for accepting the donations, which he says he’ll use to help his colleagues.

“You’re damn right I’ll take the money,” Harris told the Capital-Star. “I took the money so I could level the playing field for Democrats.”

(Tim DeFoor Facebook page image).

4. Get to know Pa.’s Auditor General candidates: Tim DeFoor

In an effort to help voters make an informed decision this Nov., the Capital-Star will be doing Q&A’s with all four candidates for the Office of the Auditor General, a statewide position currently held by Eugene DePasquale.

We’re kicking things off with Dauphin County Controller Tim DeFoor, the Republican nominee.

What is the role of the auditor general? 

DeFoor: Well, think of the role of the Auditor General as your as your state fiscal watchdog. And basically what that is, the auditor general is responsible for making sure that government is accountable for how it spends taxpayer dollars, and to make government transparent with regards to how it also spends those tax dollars.

So, it pretty much acts as the fiscal watchdog for the state, and you watch how money is being spent with regards to – could be different state departments, it could be different state programs, it could be state funded programs … That’s the primary role of the auditor general.

Row home facades on a residential street off Germantown Avenue in the Germantown section of Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

5. Here’s what the CDC eviction ban means for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvanians who have fallen behind on rent may be shielded from eviction once again, this time under a new federal order that aims to keep them in their homes through the end of 2020.

Housing attorneys say they’re still analyzing the details of a new order the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued unexpectedly late Tuesday evening, which appears to shield most renters from new eviction claims if they’ve lost jobs or income.

The order may not take effect until Friday, experts say. But it will remain in place, nationwide, through Dec. 31.

The new protections came as welcome news to housing advocates in Pennsylvania, who predicted that cash-strapped landlords would rush to the courts after a moratorium imposed by Gov. Tom Wolf expired Monday.

And that’s the week. See you all back here on Monday. 

John L. Micek
A 3-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's Editor-in-Chief. An award-winning political reporter, Micek’s career has taken him from small town meetings and Chicago City Hall to Congress and the Pennsylvania Capitol. His weekly column on U.S. politics is syndicated to 800 newspapers nationwide by Cagle Syndicate. He also contributes commentary and analysis to broadcast outlets in the U.S., Canada and the U.K. Micek’s first novel, “Ordinary Angels,” was released in 2019 by Sunbury Press